CON­TRA­CEP­TIVE OP­TIONS

Did you know that within just 10 days of giv­ing birth, it’s the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble for you to get preg­nant again? It’s never too early to make an in­formed choice about post-baby con­tra­cep­tion. Here are your op­tions.

Your Baby & Toddler - - JUST FOR YOU - BY TRACEY HAWTHORNE

hav­ing no pe­riod at all. Cons Some women ex­pe­ri­ence side ef­fects such as in­creased ap­petite, headaches and de­pres­sion, es­pe­cially for the first three months. Re­turn to fer­til­ity can take up to nine months. No pro­tec­tion against STIS or HIV. Is it safe for breast­feed­ing? Yes. Cost Free from govern­ment clin­ics, and rea­son­ably priced at chemists with clin­ics and pri­vate fa­cil­i­ties.

The patch sticks to your body like a large plas­ter, usu­ally on the bum, up­per arm or thigh. It uses the same hor­mones as the pill, that are re­leased into your body over time. It re­quires one new patch per week for three weeks and one week patch­free per month. Used cor­rectly, it’s 91 per­cent ef­fec­tive. Pros In some women it helps reg­u­late the men­strual cy­cle and may help de­crease cramps and acne. Cons You need a pre­scrip­tion. You must re­mem­ber to change the patch each week and go one week patch free each month. Some women ex­pe­ri­ence un­pleas­ant side ef­fects such as in­creased ap­petite, headaches and de­pres­sion, es­pe­cially for the first three months. It’s not rec­om­mended for women who’re over 35, are very over­weight, are smok­ers, or have heart prob­lems or cir­cu­la­tory dis­eases. It doesn’t pro­tect against STIS or HIV. Is it safe for breast­feed­ing? No. Cost Slightly more costly than the pill but still rea­son­ably priced at chemists and pri­vate clin­ics. Not avail­able at govern­ment clin­ics. This is a tiny soft sil­i­cone de­vice that’s in­serted un­der the skin in your up­per arm. It uses a slow-re­lease dose of pro­gestin to sup­press ovu­la­tion for three years. Used cor­rectly, it’s 99 per­cent ef­fec­tive. Pros Long-last­ing, very ef­fec­tive and doesn’t re­quire any clin­i­cal fol­low up. It can be re­moved at any time and re­turn to fer­til­ity is im­me­di­ate. Cons Some women ex­pe­ri­ence un­pleas­ant side ef­fects, such as in­creased ap­petite, headaches and de­pres­sion, es­pe­cially in the first three months. It can cause ir­reg­u­lar bleed­ing. It’s not rec­om­mended for women who’ve had blood clots or any vein dis­or­ders, any can­cer that’s hor­mone sen­si­tive, or liver dis­ease. There’s some de­bate on whether its ef­fec­tive­ness is af­fected by ARVS (ask your health­care provider for the lat­est rec­om­men­da­tions). It doesn’t pro­tect against STIS or HIV. Is it safe for breast­feed­ing? Yes. Cost Up to R2 000 from a pri­vate doc­tor, and free from some govern­ment clin­ics.

Placed in­side the vagina, this flex­i­ble ring re­leases hor­mones that pre­vent con­cep­tion. It needs to be re­placed ev­ery month. Used cor­rectly, it’s 91 per­cent ef­fec­tive. Pros Easy to in­sert your­self. In some women it can sta­bilise the men­strual cy­cle and help with acne. Cons You must re­mem­ber to take the ring out at the end of the third week, and in­sert a new one at the be­gin­ning of the next cy­cle a week later. It can be ex­pelled from the vagina by mis­take. Al­though rare, it may cause throm­bo­sis (blood clots). It’s not rec­om­mended for women who’re over 35, are smok­ers, or have liver or heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, mi­graines, blood-clot­ting dis­or­ders or un­con­trolled high blood pres­sure. It doesn’t pro­tect against STIS or HIV. Is it safe for breast­feed­ing? No. Cost It’s not yet widely avail­able in South Africa, so ask a gy­nae­col­o­gist for more de­tails and fees.

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